There is an adage claiming terrible things come in threes. There is no data to back this up because perception is subjective, what some judge as awful, others don’t. This adage amounts to nothing is more than a person trying to find logic in the random events that happen in their life. But the combinational effects of three events, a pandemic, the economic turmoil left in its aftermath, and the unrest triggered by the violent death of George Floyd at the hands of police seem to add credence to this old belief concerning challenging events. These past few months highlight some of the toughest periods in our nation’s history. People are genuinely frightened by them and are questioning the ability of our nation to survive them.
Hard times have been with us before. All one has to do is review US history to learn the details. The hidden value in them is that they challenge us to confront our true selves and values so we may develop into greater humans. This is what I see now happening in the United States. Our country is being called to confront its four hundred years of slavery and racism and set forth a path of equality for all.
Emotions are raw. Our racist underbelly is out in the open once again and witnessing is both frightening and disgusting. Time and time we see our black brothers and sisters unjustly lose their lives, but we have failed to act on our inherent injustices. This time, it feels different, and many are hopeful genuine change will finally come.
Yes, there are others who have suffered. The #MeToo movement has brought to the forefront the horrible treatment women have and continue to experience in this country. As a Latino and an immigrant, I have my own experiences of discrimination-based injustices. I am also very aware of the unfair treatment many people experience daily because of their race, sexual preference, ethnic and religious origins. But, at5 this critical moment, it is important that we focus our energy and come together on the side of the Black Lives Matter movement, for it is obvious black people have been and continue to be treated as though their lives matter least of all. Establishing true equality for all must begin with raising awareness to the injustices our black brothers and sisters have suffered in this country and in the world and bring a stop to them. This will teach us the way to make sure that all lives matter.
Unfortunately, as is the custom of our media sources, their reporting on focuses on incidents driven by fear, violence, hatred, racism, selfishness and misguided beliefs. When we witness these destructive forces, it makes it difficult to believe that we can create a better society.
But the truth is different. The overwhelming majority of people in these demonstrations are doing so peacefully. They understand that hatred creates more hatred and violence begets more violence. They understand that love, understanding, courage, acknowledgement of injustices, unity of purpose and a steadfast resolve to create a more perfect union create the genuine power to make progress. They are trying to be, as Mahatma Gandhi urges, the change they wish to see in the world.
It is in their honor that I share this prayer of St Francis of Assisi as a guide on becoming that change so many of us wish to become.
Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
This is our chance to become that instrument.
Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will reward you with feelings of joy and contentment.